HITCHHIKING IN THE AXIS OF EVIL
BY THUMB THROUGH IRAN, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
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On May 1st 2005, Juan Villarino, an Argentinean hitchhiker,hitches a ride in a sailboat from Belfast harbourto Scotland, on the first leg of a journey tothe Middle East. Borrowing the strategy of thesnail he carries all he needs in a backpack, andsticks out his thumb along both dusty roads andmotorways. He possesses no credit card nor bulletproof jacket. His goal is to cross the heart of theIslamic world: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, solely by hitchhiking,in an attempt to prove that hospitality abounds in a region portrayedas terrorist by the establishment media.As he moves across the vast globe, Juan lives deliciously absurd events.He enters Iraq at night like a homeless person, but ends up teachinghitch-hiking lessons in the Kurdish Parliament. In Teheran he spendstime with the intellectual resistance against Iran?s Ayatollah?s regime.He crosses Afghanistan village by village, having tea in a minefield, becominga postman for a day, and dropping by a NATO base to fill up hisbackpack with food stuff. While he travels, his pen describes those ordinarypeople who sweat and work under any flag, but never ever grabthe headlines. The outcome is the book you hold in your hands: an odeto movement and a precise chronicle about one of the least-travelledzones on Earth. Today, Juan keeps hitch-hiking the world and writing books by the roadside.